Remembering the panto

Before Covid19

In February we were in the local pantomime. It was Aladdin. I also painted the scenery including this cutout of a cast member who had gone through a mangle and had to come out flattened. You would think it was easy. But have you tried painting feet from the back as well as the front? I took photos of the front and back of the person but the feet looked odd? I should have placed them like Charlie Chaplin perhaps? I hope life starts to return to normal and we get to do another panto soon! Oh yes I do! Oh no you don’t!

Missing Barndances

Next month we would probably have been holding a Barn dance in aid of the Penkhull Mystery play (that didn’t happen in July). We would also have started rehearsals for the Penkhull panto, both events, ( the mystery play and the panto) had big audiences. Now our government has decided to cut the number of people who can live in England down to six both inside and out. No more crowds. Sad….

Panto scenery? Oh yes it is!

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Now the panto is over I can share the scenery paintings I did. The market scene was painted with the help of John who started it, (he’s one of the stage cew) and he helped me with the sky on the desert scene. The flat figure came back out of the “mangle” after the character playing a policeman crawled through it in search of Aladdin. I also added clothes to the front of the “washing machine”, the man playing a second policeman crawled into it, and after a few seconds a child climbed out, as if shrunken, but with a full sized uniform!

I had a lot of fun doing these, and I may be painting a mural in Wales now I’ve finished doing this.

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That’s it for another year!

Everything’s cleared up and tidied away….. Chairs stacked and put away, empty glasses and plastic beakers cleaned and disposed of. All the sweet wrappers and crisp packets that had been left on the floor were cleared up last night. The changing rooms (four garden gazebos) were taken down today, clothes will be washed and the ones that were rented will go back to their owners. At ten thirty last night the people we had hired the mikes off came to collect them, only to be told they would have to wait a quarter of an hour because we were doing an encore!

Comments made include our panto was better than the professional one held in the city centre at Christmas, and that out cast were good. The only complaint we got was that the radio mikes kept dropping out. The panto has been filmed so hopefully I can get a copy.

It was worth all the months of hard work. If you want to see one of the sketches we did look up “if I were not upon the stage” on YouTube. It’s not our version but gives you an idea of what we did.

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Two pantos in one day!?

So instead of taking photos I decided to draw members of the cast. Less issues over copyright when sharing here because no filming or videos are allowed of the actual panto and I don’t like sharing people’s pictures randomly.

I’m slightly dreading doing two performances and remembering my lines. At least it’s finished today so I can have a rest tomorrow. Then I will get back to blogging here, which I have been neglecting this week.

Panto went well!

Oh yes it did! All my hard work seems to have been appreciated with the scenery. The panto is a hoot, with compliments about how good it is. The songs were OK. I almost remembered them! I only forgot one line, but non of us were 100%, but that doesn’t matter as the audience haven’t read the script! We even seemed to dance well. All the cast were enjoying themselves and the audience were appreciative, even with a delayed start due to a parking issue. They laughed all the way through and there was some brilliant clowning about.

Well, only three more performances. I’m shattered, but too tired to sleep.

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I want to post some panto photos.. But I can’t!

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Sneak peek of the washing machine front I’ve painted. Today was the dress rehearsal, one person had a problem as her trouser elastic snapped and they fell off as she was trying to make her entrance. I was practicing part of a song, and forgot to go on stage to sing that song. We got a lot of feedback on the mike’s. One of the helpers or cast got a parking ticket even though they were arked correctly… I still can’t remember all my lines, and in one scene the person before me completely forgot his so I didn’t know where I was! And breathe….

But on the whole we are getting it. There are lots of songs, dance, sketches, a nice story, an evil villan and lots of fun.

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Have I told you we are doing a panto?

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So what is a pantomime. Its a crazy comedy with characters that have been portrayed on stage for years. Some panto(mime) characters include :

Aladdin, The Genie of the lamp and the genie of the ring, Princess Jasmine, Abanazar, widow Twankey and the Sultan and Sultana in our panto.

Jack in Jack and the beanstalk, the giant, Jack’s mother and the panto cow, usually called Daisy.

Robin Hood and his merry men with Robin, Marion, the sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy, King John, little John, friar tuck, Will Scarlet.

Sleeping beauty and Cinderella are also pantomimes. So basically they are fairy stories or children’s stories that have been adapted for the stage. Various other characters are added. Like the principle boy, who plays the hero but is often played by a girl, or the ugly sisters and widow Twankey who are played by men. A lot of cross dressing in the panto is traditional.

Pantos are played for laughs, modern ones can be quite commercial and include product placement. In our case we are amateur and just have fun.

If you live nearby to Stoke and want to come along let me know.

Shattered

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I’m only showing you a bit of sky and some rocks I painted today as the scenery for the panto is secret. Basically I painted a desert. I had help with the sky (the black is a short curtain above the scenery). I’m too short to reach the top of the scenery. I am absolutely shattered now. 2.30pm to 6pm!i know I paint fast but that’s ridiculous….. About ten foot tall by 30 to 40 foot wide. I will publish the full image when the pantomime is over. Its thin acrylic paint on flat boards.

Panto rehearsal tonight

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The adult chorus are trying to learn three dances. Don’t stop believing, Spice up your life, and another one about Prince Ali from the Aladdin film which had Robin Williams in. We haven’t started yet.

The Plan is to sing and dance. Which is like that old trick of patting your head while rubbing your stomach. I’m sitting this out as my hip is still sore!

Only five weeks to the show, I’m scared!